Savage Worlds and Deadlands…

thullgrim

Adventurer
I’ve used SWADE for Deadlands, Masks of Nyarlathotep, Coriolis, Savage Pathfinder, fantasy (pre swade). It’s on my radar to combine with Blades in the Dark and Numenera. Games whose tone and setting I love but whose rules (I like tactical combat) I’m not a fan of. Except clocks. I used clocks in SWADE. It’s fantastic.

50 Fathoms has the most widely regarded plot point campaign in it. It’s a fun age of sail meets the apocalypse setting.

I’ve been think of moving back to my Coriolis game for my in person group. Savage Worlds was working pretty well for it.
 

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Greg K

Legend
And the support. Damn. Savage Rifts. Savage Pathfinder. Supers Companion. Fantasy Companion. All the older settings like Flash Gordon and 50 Fathoms and Spanish Main. Insane.
Then, there is the excellent third party support. Agents of Oblivion, Beasts & Barbarians (Sword & Sorcery), Thrilling Tales 2e (Pulp), Mars: Savage Worlds (Sword & Planet), Fort Griffin (traditional Wild West), and Gaslight, to name just a few.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Except clocks. I used clocks in SWADE. It’s fantastic.
How do you treat clocks in Savage Worlds? At a glance, it looks like the same idea is basically covered with Dramatic Tasks for short-term stuff...like 4E skill challenges. Do you mean the long-term clocks of Blades and PbtA?
50 Fathoms has the most widely regarded plot point campaign in it. It’s a fun age of sail meets the apocalypse setting.
Yeah it looks really cool. My immediate reaction is to try to turn it into Pirates of Dark Water.
 

thullgrim

Adventurer
Short and long term clocks as you would have in Blades. I’ve never been able to smoother transition into skill challenges and dramatic tasks. Clocks just work for better for me and then I leverage raises to add and subtract segments.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Short and long term clocks as you would have in Blades. I’ve never been able to smoother transition into skill challenges and dramatic tasks. Clocks just work for better for me and then I leverage raises to add and subtract segments.
I think I know what you mean. Like the awkward transition form the conversation of regular play into the structured rigidity of combat. Formal subsystems like dramatic tasks or chases probably have that same feeling. "We interrupt your regularly scheduled roleplaying for this bespoke minigame..."
 
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thullgrim

Adventurer
I think I know what you mean. Like the awkward transition form the conversation of regular play into the structured rigidity of combat. Formal subsystems like dramatic tasks or chases probably has that same feeling. "We interrupt your regularly scheduled roleplaying for this bespoke minigame..."
Exactly. I’ve tried being open with mechanic, I’ve tried being narrative, it just usually ends up being awkward. I throw a clock out and start filling or emptying segments and let people intuit what’s going on. You can see time is a factor or the number is successes is a factor. You can ask me questions which I’ll answer but I want to skip all the awkward ‘ok you jeed 4 successes before three failure and you can use the following’.
 

Reynard

Legend
I think I know what you mean. Like the awkward transition form the conversation of regular play into the structured rigidity of combat. Formal subsystems like dramatic tasks or chases probably have that same feeling. "We interrupt your regularly scheduled roleplaying for this bespoke minigame..."
That seems strange to me. Clocks are just another minigame. You make checks and move the clock based on the results.
EDIT: I mean specifically for immediate scene clocks, not long term clocks.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
That seems strange to me. Clocks are just another minigame. You make checks and move the clock based on the results.
EDIT: I mean specifically for immediate scene clocks, not long term clocks.
I think it’s about how they’re handled. In regular RPG conversation you don’t have things like initiative and rounds to worry about. You just declare what you do and the referee might ask for a roll or otherwise adjudicates it. Using clocks, to me, is that same process plus keeping track of successful actions. The referee decides this obstacle needs three successes to overcome and just keeps narrating and keeps the same conversational flow going. Not bothering with initiative and rounds. So it’s smoother to use. Stopping the conversation and doing some procedure to determine what structured order people get to speak in then running through a minigame isn’t the same conversational flow.
 

Reynard

Legend
I think it’s about how they’re handled. In regular RPG conversation you don’t have things like initiative and rounds to worry about. You just declare what you do and the referee might ask for a roll or otherwise adjudicates it. Using clocks, to me, is that same process plus keeping track of successful actions. The referee decides this obstacle needs three successes to overcome and just keeps narrating and keeps the same conversational flow going. Not bothering with initiative and rounds. So it’s smoother to use. Stopping the conversation and doing some procedure to determine what structured order people get to speak in then running through a minigame isn’t the same conversational flow.
Right. I don't think there is much a difference between the by-the-book Dramatic Task from SWADE and a clock for something like sneaking into a warehouse undetected or convincing the Baron to give you men at arms or whatever.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Right. I don't think there is much a difference between the by-the-book Dramatic Task from SWADE and a clock for something like sneaking into a warehouse undetected or convincing the Baron to give you men at arms or whatever.
Maybe it’s different for you, but for me the imposed structure of initiative through dealing out Action Cards and doing actions in strict rounds makes it feel quite different that the regular narrative flow of conversation plus a clock the referee is tracking. Drop the cards, initiative, and rounds and it would almost be the same.

ETA: I’m new to Savage Worlds so maybe I’m calling it the wrong thing. Dramatic Tasks are the structured thing like skill challenges with cards and rounds. Quick Encounters are basically a loose bunch of skill checks. Right? I can see Quick Encounters being very much seamlessly mixed into narrative conversational flow. Not so much with Dramatic Tasks given the cards, strict initiative, and rounds.
 
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dbm

Adventurer
I only have a passing familiarity with BitD so won’t try to comment on clocks. I do love Dramatic Tasks, however, and they are a mechanism I probably use as often as combat when GMing SWADE.

The strength of Dramatic Tasks, for me, is that they do put mechanical weight into what the characters are attempting. And those mechanics integrate well with the wider rules and character Edges etc. An overall scene is defined, and the GM decides how many rounds, how many successes are required, what kind of time those rounds represent and so on. They can be completely separate from combat or run in parallel with it to represent scenarios like “can the warriors hold off the enemy horde while the mages cast the ritual” etc.

The initiative system is used well and adds to the drama in a few ways in my experience. First, it shakes things up, especially when there are ‘bad actors’ in the mix, too. Second, you can draw a Joker which is a big bonus, or a Club which represents a complication. Complications are cool as they mean even the GM doesn’t know exactly how the scene will play out and the possibility of immediate failure adds huge tension. Finally, it connects with all the Edges based on the initiative system, and it is cool that the players get the benefit of these things they have spent their advances on.

The generation of successes, and how the players approach this, really drives the scene narrative and gives them real agency. As GM you need to make sure they they aren’t just spamming their best skill in a boring way, but otherwise pretty much anything can go.

The great thing about Savage Worlds IMO is that it provides a range of tools, and they scale nicely from a single dice roll, to a handful of rolls or up to a detailed scene with multiple rounds of meaningful action. That range of scale can apply to both combat and non-combat scenes which is more mechanical support than most games provide in my experience.

You don’t have to use any of them and certainly don’t use them at a time when you feel it will be counter productive to the feel of the game. But they are there when you do want them.
 
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Randomthoughts

Adventurer
I haven't ran a Dramatic Task yet under SWADE but have a load of xp with 4e Skill Challenges (SCs). My reading of DT is that it's a bit restrictive and much prefer the SC approach. I like the freeform process of SCs and especially don't like restricting it to "rounds" like in combat. I found clocks are more similar to SC (but haven't ran them as well).
 
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Lord_Blacksteel

Adventurer
I ran original flavor Deadlands and Hell on Earth back when and I've been running Savage Worlds here and then since it came out (currently running a Savage Deadlands game) and my best advice is that if the rules look interesting to you take a look at the various settings both Pinnacle and 3rd Party and find one that speaks to you and then run a few sessions. It's a great game but it has a fairly specific flavor and in my experience some people will jump right on board and for some it will not really click. Nothing wrong with that but it's worth discovering early on.

Aside from that there is a ton of great support out there for the system from products to forums to FB groups.

IMO it's a great game and there's a reason it has stuck around for 20 years.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I ran a Classic Deadlands campaign for something like seven years. Not knowing which bits of the setting in particular you found to be a problem, so I can't speak to them, specifically.

"Problematic" is a mostly non-specific word, that doesn't say why things are difficult.

The Classic character generation system is a bit baroque, yes. It uses a deck of cards to generate Attributes (which can be swingy and unbalanced) and a point system for skills, and then an advantage/Disadvantage system as well. It is not a system in which, if your character dies, you can stand up another one in five minutes, no.
Problematic: causing problems. But, since you asked... details.
  • Not particularly clearly written. (Tho' some friends grasped it right off - but they weren't my group.)
  • Needing to use cards. Card draw building is something I don't mind, but most of my players at the time did. Most especially my wife.
  • Took too long for the level of detail (for a game that generates only a little more detail than D6 system, it takes significantly longer)
  • A number of special cases to cope with - including potentially having already been dead.
  • Not particularly helpful in fit-to-setting context, save for hexers and revenants
  • The point spend was no help with the two potential players with major analysis paralysis.
  • The random atts annoyed the two players who most appreciated point spends.
  • The number of dice in an attribute mattering wasn't clear in the character gen; the value of bigger dice was dead obvious.
I will note that the Reloaded character gen is faster, better written, and handles the special cases better. But, being entirely point based, is horrendously hard for the AP-prone - and I had two then, and have a different two now.
One of my current crew, when we did EOTE last year, chose a pregen simply to avoid the the analysis paralysis in FFG Star Wars.
 
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dbm

Adventurer
Perhaps it is useful to mention that the rules for the latest version are just about completely different (you folks probably know that, a casual reader may not know).
 


aramis erak

Legend
So, both random stuff is annoying, and the point buy is annoying. I dunno how any game is going to not be problematic for you then.
Not for me, for the player group. You're ignoring one other major mode: random rolls... the group wound up settling on Cyclopedia D&D and then T20 playtesting. Lots of random.

Or the LUG-Trek mode: contract with the GM for final position, and pick packages - a good way of reducing the Analysis paralysis. No point balance, either.
 


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